Prime Day pushes back-to-school shopping forward by nearly 1 month, study finds
- Consumers who shop for Amazon Prime Day spend 23% more online during back-to-school season than those who don't participate in the e-commerce giant's deals day, according to an analysis by Cardlytics provided to Marketing Dive. Prime Day shoppers also spend 17% more on brick and mortar retail.
- Amazon is overall impacting the timing of the back-to-school shopping season, and pulled back-to-school spending forward by nearly a month in 2017, Cardlytics said. Other retailers are catching on and have started their back-to-school marketing earlier in order to better compete with Amazon.
- Back-to-school shopping accounts for nearly 20% of all non-holiday retail spend, and retail spend grows faster during the back-to-school season than any other time of the year, per Cardlytics. The number of purchases is decreasing, however, while spend per purchase is increasing. More than 73% of shoppers made a back-to-school purchase in-store in 2017, but consumers prefer digital deals over physical coupons.
The Cardlytics report suggests that marketers might want to start thinking about their back-to-school campaigns even earlier than usual to get an edge on Amazon, which continues to disrupt the retail category broadly. The analysis lines up with other recent research that points to how the key back-to-school sales period is slowly inching forward on the calendar, especially as consumers do more of their shopping online at their own convenience. A 2017 study by MediaMath found that back-to-school shopping typically begins just after the Fourth of July holiday, peaks in early August and actually begins to decline during the period of July 22 to Aug. 5, which has traditionally been seen as a "high season" for sales.
Adjusting marketing strategies to account for the competitive threat of Amazon promotions, including Prime Day, will likely become more pressing for retail marketers as these deals continue to expand and attract more consumer dollars. Prime Day this year is expected to last 36 hours, as opposed to the 30 hours it ran last year and the 24 hours in 2016, per Coresight Research analysis reported in Retail Dive. The retail think tank also forecast that Prime Day 2018 sales will reach $3.4 billion globally, a 40% increase from 2017 figures.
Cardlytics' findings do underpin some areas where more traditional retail brands might still have an advantage. Consumers continue to value the in-store experience when it comes to back-to-school shopping, for example. However, retail marketers should think about ensuring that their brick-and-mortar experience is seamless and modern. More than 60% of surveyed consumers report they use their smartphones while in brick-and-mortar stores, and 54% choose retailers that offer mobile deals delivered while they are in the store, according to iVend Retail's 2018 Global Path to Purchase study.
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